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Iranian President Calls for Opposition Leaders to be Prosecuted


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed Tehran's Friday prayer gathering, calling on opposition leaders to be prosecuted for unrest and violence following June 12's disputed presidential election.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had harsh words for his political adversaries from the opposition reform movement.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, who took a low profile in weeks of unrest following his alleged "landslide victory" in Iran's disputed June 12 presidential election, claimed that his reformist opponents are now in disarray.

He says that with God's will, the Iranian nation has slammed the [villains] in the mouth during the elections, and after two months, they are now stunned and have lost their way.

A fierce crackdown by Iranian security forces, following weeks of opposition protests, including thousands of arrests and alleged torture of detainees, has dampened what had been a serious threat to Iran's 30-year-old Islamic Republic.

The Iranian president went on to call on Iran's judiciary to "prosecute" reformist leaders for their alleged crimes.

He says that the foremost duty of the judiciary and security forces is to deal with the leaders and masterminds [of recent unrest]. All [leaders] who organized and fomented [that unrest] and played the game of our enemies must be challenged and confronted, he charged. The instigators of those riots should have no immunity [from prosecution].

Iran has already put scores of opposition leaders, journalists, politicians, and ordinary protesters on trial for inciting violence and unrest.

Opposition leaders Mir Hussein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and former president Mohammed Khatami have all challenged Mr. Ahmadinejad's legitimacy, arguing that he won re-election through fraud and vote-rigging.

The crowd at Tehran University's prayer grounds chanted "death to America" and "death to the traitors," at timed intervals, as the Iranian president spoke.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's assault against opposition leaders comes at a time when he is being criticized by his own supporters for using poor judgment in trying to form a new government, and while Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has softened criticism of the opposition.

Ayatollah Khamenei, during a Wednesday speech, retracted previous charges that opposition leaders were being backed by foreign powers.

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